Popular foods this year are expected to include kale, kombucha tea, antioxidant-rich vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and grains that boast rich amounts of protein, fiber and iron, says Alison Sacks, a registered dietitian. "People will continue to try to get more of their protein from grains," Sacks said.
Avocados have become standard on restaurant menus, and chefs are finding inventive new ways to use cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in an effort to feed growing consumer demand for healthier meals, consultant Nancy Kruse told attendees at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago this week. "We will see more innovation around neglected categories, like produce. There's a coming demand for real and better foods, and foodservice will take the leading role," she said.
Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar, ginger aids digestion and a dash of red pepper can help burn calories at a higher rate, says Dr. David Heber, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles. Heber and other researchers are using funding from McCormick Science Institute to study health benefits from adding herbs and spices to the diet.
The traditional green-bean casserole often is the only green vegetable on the Thanksgiving menu, but autumn offers hearty options such as kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, chef and cookbook author Kim O'Donnel writes. She recommends adding kale to mashed potatoes, turning Brussels sprouts into a slaw side dish and roasting broccoli pickup sticks in the oven.
Many supermarkets have hired dietitians and are promoting healthful eating habits, particularly consumption of fruits and vegetables, by offering recipes and reaching customers through social media. Leah McGrath, dietitian for Ingles Markets, said she uses social media to ask consumers what fruits or vegetables they have never tried, then posts recipes using those ingredients.